All posts by Emma Murphy BHSII Senior Coach in Eventing

Resilience, The Key To Overcoming Setbacks…

Horse riding is an exhilarating and rewarding activity, but it is not without its challenges. Riders must learn to work with an unpredictable animal and navigate various obstacles, both physical and mental. One essential skill that all horse riders must possess is resilience.

Resilience refers to the ability to bounce back from setbacks and difficulties. It is a crucial skill in horse riding because no matter how experienced a rider may be, there will always be unexpected situations that arise. Horses are intelligent, emotional animals that can be affected by their environment, mood, and health. Riders must be able to adapt to these changes and maintain control of their horse.

One of the ways riders can build resilience is by developing a growth mindset. This means viewing challenges as opportunities for growth and learning, rather than insurmountable obstacles. When riders encounter a difficult situation, they should approach it with an open mind and a willingness to learn from it. For example, if a horse spooks at a loud noise, instead of becoming frustrated, a rider with a growth mindset would see it as an opportunity to practice desensitization techniques.

Another key aspect of resilience is the ability to stay calm under pressure. Horses are sensitive animals that can pick up on their rider’s emotions. If a rider becomes anxious or fearful, the horse is likely to pick up on these feelings and respond accordingly. Therefore, it is important for riders to remain calm and composed, even in stressful situations. This can be achieved through breathing exercises, visualization techniques, and positive self-talk.

Finally, riders can build resilience by practicing perseverance. Horse riding is a challenging sport that requires dedication and hard work. Riders must be willing to put in the time and effort necessary to improve their skills and overcome obstacles. This means showing up to lessons and training sessions, even on days when they may not feel like it, and working through setbacks and difficulties.

In conclusion, resilience is a crucial skill for horse riders to develop. It allows them to bounce back from setbacks and adapt to unexpected situations. By cultivating a growth mindset, staying calm under pressure, and practicing perseverance, riders can build the resilience they need to succeed in this challenging and rewarding sport.

If you need any help, give me a shout:)

Green Cross Code of Change

If I asked you to visualise a green cross, which way would you see it? Horizontal and vertical (+) or diagonally (x)?

If I asked you how do you see change, is it a positive thing or a negative thing, what would your answer be?

I asked myself these same questions. I chose horizontal and vertical (+) and I see change in a positive way. I always think if we keep doing the same thing, we always get the same results; but we can change one thing to make a big difference.

Then I started to look closer at the crosses and what they symbolised. To me , the horizontal and vertical cross is the ‘positive’ symbol or plus sign. It is also the medical symbol or first aid. The diagonal cross makes me think of when an answer was wrong in school and you would have an ‘X’ next to it, or a no entry sign, giving me the impression of it being a ‘negative’ symbol.

When young and being taught about how to cross the road safely, we learnt about the ‘green cross code’. As a child I always looked at the symbol for the green cross code (its an X) as being slightly negative in the way it needed respecting and to me at the time, it wasn’t particularly friendly. (I also thought the green cross code man was a little scary!) So, I decided to change it to a + symbol instead, paticularly as it looks more like a road to be crossed.

When teaching this to my son recently, it all came flooding back. First find a safe place to cross. Stop, look, listen, then cross but keep looking and listening. The more times we went over it, I started to realise that the code can also apply to making a change in our lives. I call it, The ‘Green Cross Code of Change’, and this is how we can use it…

So you want to make a positive change ‘to the other side of the road’ so to speak?

First find a safe place to cross. I see this as finding the right time in your current situation to commit to the change you want to make. This can play a vital role to the success or failure of the change.

Stop. We need to stop doing whatever it is we want to change first, in-order to start with the something new. When we change something in our lives, like a behaviour or a habit, we first need to understand that it was a learnt process in the first place. If we learn how to do something, we can also ‘un-learn’ it. But to do that, we need to have something to replace it with (ie. a new behaviour that you want to become the habit) However, its not like replacing a damaged chip in a computer circuit board where one is taken out and another put in to replace it and it all works fine. The new behaviour has to be learnt by practice, practice and more practice.

Look. This is a good time to look for opportunities to help with the change you are making, research it. Maybe try out the new behaviour when those opportunities arise. Look for information to help back up the new learning and other peoples success stories for inspiration.

Listen. Listen to the feedback you get, not just from those around you, but from your inner-self. Do an ecology check. Is it working? Are you proceeding in the right direction? Does it fit with your visualisation of your expectations? Do you need to adapt?

Cross. Once you have decided it is the right place and time to make a change, commit to it wholeheartedly. Don’t just ‘dip a toe’ in, or ‘I’ll see if it works’, or ‘I’ll try it’. As Yoda says in the movie Star Wars, ‘Do or do not, there is no try!’ If you don’t commit to that change it is less likely to happen, and you won’t achieve the outcome you are looking for. Commit to practicing that new change. Sometimes we need to exaggerate the new behaviour in our practice until it becomes easier, then with more practice the behaviour will become deeper embedded and more likely to stick and like second nature. This is when the old habit or behaviour has become obsolete and the new one has chance to shine.

Once you have ‘crossed your road’, keep looking forward, not backwards into the past, as that isn’t the way you are going!


Emma Murphy XC Training Lucy n Lizzy Part 01

Master your mind so your mind doesn’t master you! Training to build courage, consistency and confidence in the horse as the rider learns skills & techniques to control thoughts and emotions.